Hope That Breathes {Day 2}

Give Me Jesus

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." {1 Peter 1:3-5 ESV}

Breathe Hope With Your Days

Each day we have a brand new set of 24 hours to use to make much of Jesus. The allotted time each person is given is the same; 24 hours, 1,440 minutes and 86,400 seconds. The moment you wake up in the morning, open your eyes and get out of bed, your mission has begun. The fact that you are alive and breathing is a gift straight from the hands of God. However, the reality is that we end up spending countless minutes (maybe even hours altogether) on social media wasting time and falling head-first into the pit of comparison. When we could be breathing life into others, we allow Satan to knock the wind out of us leaving us breathless.

As a believer, you have been born again to a "living hope," as Peter described in verse three. The word used for living is "zao"in the Greek. Zao means "to enjoy real life, to have true life worthy of the name, active, blessed, endless in the kingdom of God, to live and breathe." Think with me for a second, because the mercy of God is greater than the depth of our sins, we can literally become a new creation with a new "zao" life. It may seem weird to think of this, but many people walk around each day not living the "zao" life that God intends for us in Christ. Instead, we waste our breaths gossiping, complaining, worrying and stressing over the little things. Satan will do everything in his power to minimize the effectiveness of your life for the Kingdom of God.

But, sister, you can fight back! Through Christ, you have literally become a new woman with new priorities. No longer should your aim be to have thousands of Instagram follower. No longer should your identity be wrapped in the number of "likes" you get in Facebook or a picture you post. No longer should your heart be set on the newest fashions and competing with women around you. Instead, you should be breathing "living" (zao) hope onto those around you.

Strangers, friends, foreigners and family should come alive around you because you have the living hope of Christ in you! As I was thinking about this Scripture yesterday, Satan did everything in his power to get discouraged and not grasp the "living hope" in me. I had so much on my mind the previous night that I couldn't sleep peacefully. The lack of sleep effected my joy throughout the day. It wasn't until I was at the grocery store grabbing a few things that the Lord reminded me that even when I am tired, discouraged and weary, He is still God and the same hope is mine to grab. Even in our tired moments, His mercy reaches out to us and reminds us that we now breathe hope because of Christ.

Living For Things Eternal

The truth is, this world is passing away and everything with it, including our emotions and possessions. It is easy to get distracted with the busyness of life and to miss the point of circumstances that comes our way. God is not concerned with what I am doing but with who I am becoming. If you are a follower of Christ, then your life has been bought by Jesus precious blood and you now have an inheritance that is "imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you." (verse 3) This inheritance was not bought with money that you earned while on earth, nor with the status or reputation you achieved. It was bought with the priceless, perfect blood of Jesus. God sees the big picture of your life. He sees that it is just a vapor, as James 4:14 describes, but eternity is forever. We easily become wrapped up in fear that we will make a wrong decision and completely miss the will of God, but His will is clear in the Bible.

1 John 3:23-24 says "And this is the commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us." (emphasis mine) God desires that we live every single day breathing the hope of Jesus onto others through the way we sacrificially love them. To live for things that are eternal is to take our eyes off of our circumstances and feelings (that change like a roller coaster everyday), and commit to not be swayed by them but to be steadfast in the love of Christ. This is the kind of love that draws people to Jesus, because they see something that is not humanly possible.

1 Peter
1 Peter

Practically, how do we live each moment with a kingdom focus? Matthew 6:19-21 reminds us to "lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." The following verses give us more clarity. Verse 24 talks about how we cannot serve both God and money, and then the rest of the chapter Jesus tells us not to worry about food, clothing, or drink but to "seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all those things will be added to you." (Matthew 6:33) To live with an eternal mindset is to trust all things to God - your cares, your worries, your future, your present, and your soul. Once you have trusted Him with everything that is most precious to you, you will be free of worldy anxieties and live for the fame of Christ instead of your own glory. This is living with eternity in mind.

Jonathan Edwards once prayed: "Lord, stamp eternity on my eyeballs."

Becoming Hope

Romans 5:2-5 reveals to us a truth about this hope that Christ has purchased for us by His blood. Verses 3-4 tells us this: "Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing hat suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." (emphasis mine) Peter was writing his letter to a group of believers who were discouraged and tired of being being persecuted and put down for their faith. We see here that for the believers (and for you and me) to truly grasp the hope of Jesus, we must go through sufferings, trials, persecutions and hardships. It is a process.

First, we rejoice in our sufferings as if they are completely normal. Usually we become jarred and thrown off when something upsets our day or a tragedy happens in life. Jesus told us not to be surprised when the world hates us in John 15. He bore the cross for our sin with joy, knowing what the eternal outcome would be. When we rejoice in our sufferings, our life produces a Godly endurance. My Mawmaw is the perfect example of this. When my mom was a young woman, Mawmaw became very sick and was diagnosed with severe rheumatoid arthritis. She later would have her right leg amputated due to an infection in surgery. In her extreme earthly suffering, she was the most hopeful woman I have ever met. She rejoiced in her sufferings, knowing that Christ also suffered. Her response to rejoice produced character and hope that breathed life onto everyone around her, including me.

Peter knew that we would experience hardship as believers. We live in a fallen world. BUT, Jesus has conquered it and bought our lives for His glory. Sister, I don't know what struggle you are going through today, but I do know the One who struggled so you might be free and live in victory. I pray that each one of us would live with a Kingdom heart today and that we would breathe hope onto those around us that desperately need the Gospel. Bless the Lord for this hope that He has given us in His great mercy!

Ask and Seek:

  • How do you spend the allotted 24 hours you are given each day? What do you need to change to center your day on making much of Christ?
  • How are you breathing hope onto others?
  • What are practical ways you can live for eternity rather than the here and now? How will this affect the decisions you make throughout your day?

What did you learn from Day Two of our 1 Peter study? I'd love to hear! Comment below or share on Instagram using the hashtags #LLB1Peter and #lifelivedbeautifully.

your sister,

Gretchen